Pinball! Pinball! Pinball! Tournament report and format discussion


I should clarify that I’m only pointing this out because I have erratic/low attendance because our scene is relatively small with limited location play available; something new TDs or those with similar issues should consider.


Yes and no, depending on how many players and what the target no. of games is.

If there are 3 players and you set the total games as even - it works for all even no.s
If there are 5 players, with 2 machine. It works if total games are divisible by 4.

I’m sure there’s a formula to prove it, but don’t ask me what it is. Although I’m sure some on here cam run the numbers. It makes no difference whether there are an even or odd no. of players - It’s the target games that needs changing to guarantee everyone gets the same no. of games.

Worst case scenario, 1 player will play 1 game less than everyone else. That player would be random, as you can’t predict length of all the game times and matchups.

It was only a suggestion to make it fairer in the eyes of the players.

As you can see above, with just 1 exception (Paul moves from 5th to 7th) it matters not whether total wins or win percentage is used to calculate positions.


Currently deep into the 2nd half of the Pinball Till Yinz Fall, and I can write this because I whipped up some beta (lets be honest, alpha) software based in Python that is managing the tournament.

The downside to alpha software? I forgot to add an “undo” feature, which meant I had to fall back to my Excel backup for the first half and go blind…all while adding a tournament restore feature. Not a fun time.

We have 13 players and 5 games, with a game swap after the first 90 minute half. We’re taking 4 players to a best-of-3 heads up finals, which should go nicely (especially since that’s going to be offline from my software…).

The format is being extremely well received, with the pinball/format receiving tons of praise even with technical difficulties!

I don’t have statistics due to the improvised tournament restore, but I used a mix of DMD, late SS, and late Classics games. There has definitely been a time disparity, but it seems that everyone is getting mostly equal distribution on the long players (like Congo, Jack*Bot, etc).

I will be running more in the future, which motivates me more to get this software improved; it really makes this format much, much nicer to run from a player and TD standpoint!


Coming soon:



Oooooo. “Before my monthly one month from now” soon?


Alright Flip Frenzy tournaments are available. More details here: Match Play Events Open Thread


I used this last week and it went great! Very easy to run. Thank you!!


any things you learned from running it that other TDs should keep in mind?


Any issues with people that either don’t have smartphones or don’t want to sign up for matchplay? We’ve had hiccoughs in the past with people not knowing where to go or no one in the group being able to report scores.

Do you feel a big screen view with the current games and matchups is needed, or can people follow along on their phones pretty well?


they don’t report results via the app for this format so that part makes it simpler and you can have a screen showing the matchups too if you like… which is just a browser page


Clearly explain: “When a match is over, Player 1 stays on the game. Player 2 goes to the end of the queue. The person at the front of the queue moves to that game, and plays as Player 1.”

(I didn’t realize this is how it was working, so I mis-explained it).

I had 15 people, and had 6 matches going at once, with a three person queue. In retrospect, a four person queue would have been better, as people were often not back in time from trying to buy a drink at the bar. Even 5 people might have been okay, but that might have been better as a 2 hour event (instead of 90 minutes, like I did).

I didn’t play in it, but would be tempted to next time. I’d have the person who is number 2 in the queue sitting at a table with the laptop so they can enter the next result, and direct the number 1 person in the queue, and then move over to that spot.

(I used three barstools to represent the queue positions, and people would slide down as the queue moved. It worked pretty well.)


I am horrible at math - if you have unlimited machines (or even if not) is there a basic formula for ideal # of machines in to keep a reasonable queue? or to figure out what a reasonable queue is?

It sounds like for you if you have 6 machines and want 4 in queue = 16 people (6 machines x2 people on it at a time = 12 people) + 4 in queue = 16

so maybe a reverse formula is best? Like if you have “x” machines and however many players is there a good way to figure out how many machines should be used and/or how many is a good # for a queue?


It really depends on how quickly you want things to move. As @ryanwanger mentioned, the length of the event is a factor; the longer it runs for, the more important it is to give players a breather. Things can get quite frantic if the queue is less than 20% of the field (which works out to a ratio of 2.5 players for each machine in use).

Match Play lets you set a minimum initial queue size, either as a percentage or a number of players. This is much simpler than trying to work out how many machines to include. (e.g., if you have 20 players, 10 machines, and an initial queue size of 20%, the software will create matches on only 8 machines, leaving 4 players in the queue.)

The way Match Play handles extra machines is neat: after a result is entered, it always creates a new match on a different machine to the one just played (if there is at least one unused arena), giving players more variety.


Wait…so if I put all 11 machines at the venue in as arenas, I still could have had 6 matches going but it would have kept moving people to different machines? That would be nice…had one guy that played 5 games in a row (with visits to the queue in between) on Deadpool.




yeah I am liking 20% as a queue level so far in test tournaments - can’t wait to run a real one! :slight_smile:


20% works pretty well. I wouldn’t want to go much lower, at least for an event > a couple hours.

In Buffalo, I had a 12-person queue with a 50-player field. 24%. Wait times were 3 to 7 minutes.

In the Green Mountain Fall Classic last weekend, I had a 7-person queue with a 35-player field. 20%. Wait times were 2 to 6 minutes.




Ran this tonight. 13 players, 20% queue. Matchplay. 2.5 hours.


Lots of people played the same opponents multiple times without playing a few even once.

Same with arena draws.

Also. Didn’t like how some players could technically wait to enter results to avoid being paired with someone they didn’t want to be paired with.

Definitely suggest having an impartial person entering results timely in the order they are finished.

Pretty fun tournament though. Hopefully the pairings and arenas draws can be fixed. Maybe not.


lots of good info there, though is there a write up somewhere? Flipfrenzy for dummy TD of sorts? :wink: